February 04, 2008

Judges – McCain's nominees and a pay raise

Here are two pieces on judges that are notable for their “Nixon goes to China” viewpoint.

Conservatives’ concerns about the type of judges John McCain would appoint as president have become prominent of late. And we too have some doubts. But consider today’s Wall Street Journal op-ed on judicial appointments by Professor Steven Calabresi – Chairman and co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society – and his similarly-minded colleague Professor John Mcginnis. The conservatives who care most about the appointment of constitutionalist judges greatly admire both men, so their view that “John McCain is the best option to preserve the ongoing restoration of constitutional government” carries a lot of credibility.

Calabresi and Mcginnis argue that
“[McCain] is by far the most electable Republican candidate remaining in the race, and based on his record is as likely to appoint judges committed to constitutionalism as Mitt Romney, a candidate for whom we also have great respect. . . . For other kinds of issues, it may be argued that it is better to lose with the perfect candidate than to win with an imperfect one. . . . The judiciary is different. . . . Even if a more perfect candidate were somehow elected in 2012, he would not be able to undo the damage, especially to the Supreme Court.”
The second piece evinces the breadth of support for giving federal judges a much needed pay raise. Even the liberal New York Times is on board. Hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a 29% pay raise at the end of last week, the Times editorialized that “the case for a substantial increase is a strong one,” especially in light of the nearly 25% decline in judges’ real wages since 1969. The Times cited Chief Justice Roberts’s observation that the decline “has left federal trial judges . . . earning about the same as (and in some cases less than) first-year lawyers at firms in major cities.” The House Judiciary Committee approved a similar bill in December.

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